VALLADOLID, YUCATAN.— Inspectors from the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa), who arrived directly from Mexico City, closed down the “Xibalbá” theme park, which is being built by the Xcaret Group on a plot of 250 hectares, located seven kilometers from the Yalcobá community, in the direction of Xtut, belonging to the municipality of Temozón.
As we have already published before, the Xcaret Group invests more than 1 billion pesos in the creation of the theme park “Xibalbá” on a plot of land acquired a long time ago and that has about 10 cenotes inside the perimeter, which are being enabled in different ways to offer tourists different experiences.
Just over two months ago, the state governor, Mauricio Vila Dosal, made a tour of the place to verify the progress of the work, whose inauguration is scheduled for next November.
According to sources close to the project, on Wednesday, October 13th, a group of Profepa inspectors suddenly arrived at the site and made a tour of the interior, including the cenotes.
As it was found, the closure was carried out because it was detected that the interior of some cenotes underwent modifications, since internal walls were broken to make the water flow outside and thus create surface rivers that seem natural.
This situation, as stated, violates environmental laws, due to the destruction of natural spaces, which is grounds for closure. In addition, apparently, the inspectors determined that there are no corresponding permits to carry out these works.
Grupo Xcaret claims they have long processed the permits with the state government, even the Secretariat for Sustainable Development was in charge of processing the permits with the federal authorities, so they in fact see no grounds for closure.
Unofficial sources indicate that the suspension of the work is due to economic interests as Grupo Xcaret made a deal with the state government, but not with federal agencies such as the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) or the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa).
Faced with this situation, Semarnat filed the corresponding complaint with Profepa in Mexico City, and the park was reviewed and closed.
So now, it seems like Grupo Xcaret will have to “negotiate” with the feds.
The state government scheduled the pre-opening of the Tianguis Turístico on November 14, an event that will officially begin two days later in the city of Mérida.
However, both the state government and Grupo Xcaret are worried and desperate about the closure of the park, since they cannot find a solution to the problem.
There is the possibility that Grupo Xcaret will resort to an injunction, as they claim to have the corresponding permits from the federal authorities.
In case a fine is imposed, the amount could be extremely high, but neither Semarnat nor Profepa confirmed the figure.
By the way, some 600 people are now unemployed after the closure of the project that was ready to open during the Tianguis Turistico in November.
Source: Noticaribe Peninsular